How to buy Ripple
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What is Ripple?
Ripple is a company that combines financial services with innovative technology. Therefore, Ripple is also called a fintech company, where fintech is a combination of the words 'financial' and 'technology'. Ripple is committed to various technologies but their main focus is on connecting digital assets between banks, payment providers and exchanges, enabling faster and more cost-effective payments worldwide.
Ripple's consortium is a complex composition of different branches that are seamlessly connected. For example, Ripple has built a payment and exchange network (RippleNet) on top of a distributed ledger database (XRP Ledger). The common currency used within the Ripple network and their ledger is the well-known cryptocurrency token, called XRP. So do not confuse Ripple with XRP, as XRP is the means of payment and Ripple is the umbrella.
How does Ripple work?
Ripple operates on an open-source , peer-to-peer decentralized platform. Open source implies that the software used is available and adaptable to other developers and system administrators. Peer-to-peer means that computers and/or people communicate and trade directly with each other without the intervention of a central server or entity.
Ripple's platform allows for the seamless transfer of money in any form. Transactions between dollars, yen, euros, or cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Litecoin can be carried out effortlessly on the platform. In recent years, the platform has grown significantly, as a result of which Ripple is now a global payment network. Large banks and other financial services are among Ripple's customers. XRP is used during transactions to facilitate rapid conversion between different currencies.
Many large and well-known cryptocurrencies work with a Proof-of-Work (PoW) system, such as Bitcoin, or with a Proof-of-Stake (Pos) system, such as Cardano. Systems like PoW and PoS are also called consensus protocol. In the case of Ripple, it's consensus protocol works a little differently. Ripple uses a consensus protocol where balances and transactions are checked by independent validators on the network. When a validator has approved the transaction, it can proceed.
Ripple's consensus protocol has a high level of integrity by making "double-spending" practically impossible. Double-spending is the risk that a cryptocurrency can be used twice or more. For example: A Ripple user tries to send the same transaction of € 100 to several gateways (addresses). Because this transaction must first be approved by validators, the Ripple user will only see the first transaction approved. The other transactions will be deleted.
Individual distributed nodes decide by consensus which transaction is made first. It takes approximately five seconds for this transaction to be confirmed. Because there is no central authority that decides who can set up a node and confirm transactions, the Ripple platform is described as decentralized. The Ripple consensus ledger keeps track of all financial transactions and makes them available for viewing on the blockchain. This allows everyone to view all transactions, increasing the transparency and reliability of the blockchain. The data of these transactions is not linked to the identity or account of an individual or company, thus guaranteeing privacy.
History of Ripple
Ryan Fugger first idealised Ripple in 2004. After years of hard work, he developed a prototype called RipplePay, which at the time was a decentralized digital monetary system. This prototype went live in 2005 and was intended to provide secure payment solutions within a global network.
In 2012, the project was taken over by financial engineers Jed McCaleb and Chris Larsen. They renamed the fintech company to OpenCoin. The goal of the project changed to focus on payment solutions for banks and other financial institutions. The acquisition led to the launch of the XRP Ledger in 2012. Soon a new name change came to Ripple Labs and in 2015 it got the name that still represents the company today, namely Ripple.
McCaleb, the founder of the infamous Mt. Gox exchange, left Ripple in 2014 to co-found Stellar (XML). Chris Larsen, formerly CEO of Ripple, now holds the position of executive chairman of Ripple's board of directors. In 2017, a real cryptomania emerged, which did not do Ripple any favors. The XRP coin reached huge price heights around $3 per coin at the beginning of 2018, a significant increase from the level of $0.05 at the beginning of 2017. To denote in percentages, we can speak of a price increase of more than 6000% in one year.
The years that followed after 2018 were tough for the crypto industry in terms of prices. Most cryptocurrencies dropped tens of percent and in some cases up to one hundred percent. This was also true for XRP. Despite this, the company Ripple made considerable strides. In 2020, FUD came to surround Ripple, which stands for Fear, Uncertainty and Daubt. Regulatory uncertainties surfaced in the news surrounding Ripple. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), sued Ripple. The complaint concerned the sale of XRP to investors in the US and global investors publicly as part of an unregistered securities sale. Ripple is alleged to have unlawfully earned more than $1.3 billion with these sales.
As the cryptocurrency industry is new compared to the traditional financial sector, the regulatory status of crypto assets has become a topic of debate over the years. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has ruled on Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH) as commodities, although the classification for other digital assets such as XRP has been more vaguely indicated. This puts XRP in a grey area in legal terms.
The SEC commission claimed that XRP is a security, so it should fall under SEC jurisdiction. Investors in XRP signed a petition that put forward arguments that XRP is something other than a security. The SEC refuted some of these arguments. According to Ripple, the SEC took too long to act. In Ripple's view, other US government agencies have designated XRP for a classification other than a security. Therefore, Ripple would be in the right in this lawsuit.
Benefits of Ripple
Ripple aims to facilitate financial transactions within seconds. While we here in the West can normally easily transfer transactions within seconds, this is not a given. Depending on the type of payment and the regions involved, it can sometimes take up to several days for a transaction to be completed.
By reducing costs and increasing speed and efficiency, Ripple is trying to improve the transfer of transactions. According to Ripple, the impact of RippleNet is only at the beginning of its journey. The network already has numerous companies involved but its impact will be even greater in the future as more companies (from the traditional sector) join Ripple.
Disadvantages of Ripple
Ripple is not the only fintech company in crypto industry that wants to conquer the market. Crypto companies, such as Stellar, have proven to be formidable competitors. For now, Ripple has the advantage of being the first to use the new crypto technologies. Nevertheless, they must continue to develop in order to stay ahead with its products and the growth of its network.
In addition, as discussed earlier, Ripple is running into unclear regulations. This is because the crypto industry is relatively new and the legal frameworks are therefore not yet crystal clear. The question is being asked aloud whether crypto related companies should fall under the existing traditional laws and guidelines, or whether special laws and regulations should be drawn up for these parties that are better suited to this innovative development.
How to store Ripple?
When buying XRP, it is highly recommended to store it safely, so that intermediaries or third parties cannot access it. The freedom of managing your own crypto currency also means that you have a greater responsibility as a crypto holder. Losing or passing on your password can lead to the permanent loss of your assets.
Normally you store your XRP in a (online) wallet. These XRP wallets give you access to your funds and allow you to sign and execute transactions. Which wallet suits you best depends on various factors. These include how much risk you want to limit, your expected investment size, and how flexibly you want to access your funds.
Various types of wallets
An XRP user has several wallet choices for storing their coins. These include hardware, desktop, mobile, exchange and paper wallets. Your wishes and needs determine which wallet suits you best. If you need to make (several) XRP transactions every day, a mobile or desktop wallet is a good balance between security and ease of use. If you have larger XRP assets and are experienced, the choice for the more secure but more complicated hardware wallet is a real option.
The word 'hardware' already tells you that the coins are stored offline. A hardware wallet is a physical device that you use to store the assets with an internet connection, but is inaccessible without one. If you lose the device you can purchase a new one and restore your assets if you have safely stored your recovery code.
Wallet addresses have private keys, both for online and hardware wallets. This private key is your access to the funds on the wallet. When you purchase or create a wallet, you must always generate a recovery sentence. Usually these are 12 or 24 randomly generated words. If you ever lose your private key, you can still access your wallet thanks to the recovery sentence.
People with malicious intentions or malicious programmes (malware) may try to access your private key or recovery phrase. They do this in an underhand way, for example by sending fishing mails. The email might say, for example, that you need to update the software of your hardware wallet. By clicking on the link in the e-mail, you will be redirected to the hackers' website. Therefore, always pay attention to the sender, the text in the e-mail and the website where you arrive when you click on a link.
Desktop and mobile wallets
Desktop and mobile wallets are wallets that are connected to the internet 24/7. They are programs or applications that can be downloaded and are often easily accessible via a desktop add-on or via a mobile app. The recovery sense for these wallets is generated online. For the safety of storage, it is advisable to keep this recovery sentence offline (pen & paper). When downloading a dekstop or mobile wallet, there are just a bit more risks involved than with a hardware wallet. This is because there may be viruses linked to the download link. In addition, there are also fake applications in circulation or other malicious actions are used to steal your crypto currency via a desktop or mobile wallet.
Nevertheless, having a desktop or mobile wallet is an attractive option for many crypto holders. You can usually access your funds quickly and easily and trade them swiftly and securely. By doing thorough research, you minimize the chance of downloading malicious software and actually installing an adequate desktop or mobile wallet.
Paper wallets are basic wallets on which the data of the crypto assets are written on a piece of paper. Via specific websites it is possible to create a new wallet that prints the essential data on a piece of paper. It is up to the holder of the wallet to keep the piece of paper in a safe place. Common data written on the paper are a wallet address where crypto can be sent to and the private key.
Although paper wallets are not directly susceptible to online danger, they are indirectly susceptible. Here's the thing: to transmit crypto online, you need to enter your private key which is on the paper wallet. If you enter the private key on a phishing website or email, malicious people can gain access to your cryptocurrencies. So, just like with hardware, desktop and online wallets, be extra careful when entering essential data.
Regardless of which storage method you use for your XRP, it is always important that you know how to secure your wallets. Be aware of the risks and be aware of the dangers you may face.
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